I've been working my way through a great book for about a month now. It's not a particularly long book, I could read a book of similar length in a week or less. But this book is written as a collection of short stories and reflections, and is so rich with wisdom and word pictures that I'm enjoying taking it a little bit at a time. The book is Cold Tangerines (celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life) by Shauna Niequist. I'll probably finish within the next few days and I look forward to more nuggets of wisdom from the book, but I thought I'd share one on here in the meantime. I feel like a combination of time to recover from the challenges of the fall and events like the holidays and baby pastor school have contributed to my improved attitude about my life and work. I have also truly been making an effort to keep things in appropriate perspective. I know more challenges will come my way, but I'm trying to gain what I can from this time and notice the moments of grace where I can. Shauna put it very well in a chapter called "blessings and curses". I wish I could share the whole chapter, but I think this paragraph sums it up pretty well.
"I would never try to tell you that every bad thing is really a good thing, just waiting to be gazed at with pretty new eyes, just waiting to be shined up and -- ta da! -- discovered as fantastic. But what I know is that for me... and for a lot of the people I love, we're discovering that lots of times, not every time, maybe, but more often than not, there is something just past the heartbreak, just past the curse, just past the despair, and that thing is beautiful. You don't want it to be beautfiul, at first. You want to stay in the pain and the blackness because it feels familiar, and because you're not done feeling victimized and smashed up. But one day you'll wake up surprised and humbled, staring at something you thought for sure was a curse and has revealed itself to be a blessing -- a beautiful, delicate blessing."
Not every curse becomes a blessing, but some of them do. And a lot of it is about what you learn and how you grow from these experiences. Its about becoming and being the person God has created you to be. Its about gaining hope for the future by seeing what you've made it through in the past. Today, I'm focusing on the blessings.